Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford in Straight-Jacket

I found a DVD of Mildred Pierce in the public library several years ago. The library clerk complimented my choice. “Joan Crawford was such a great actress. And a great lady.” Crawford was a big star in her day, but in my day she was best known as the subject of Mommie Dearest, a biopic about her relationships and her psychotic aversion to wire hangers. I told the clerk Joan was really impressive in the movie Straight-Jacket. She thanked me and said she would look for it. All of this was in the back of my mind when I came to this part of the book near the beginning of chapter ten: “[she] never raised the hatchet that she knew one day would have to fall.” I think that all goes to the point about films feeding back into the experience of literature – I can’t read Mildred Pierce without thinking of Joan Crawford (and all the baggage she brings) in that role.

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2 Responses to Joan Crawford

  1. Pingback: Hardboiled: Mildred Pierce Discussion (Part 2) & Midterm | bavatuesdays

  2. Jim Groom says:

    I think that is what is interesting to me about the Sonic Youth song off of Goo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-jp4hk7VIU) because the video is actually all about Crawford, so much so that in one scene the look-alike has a coat hanger. What’s more, it is why I might have to revisit the HBO miniseries with a bit more of an open mind. As Jess pointed to in this post, this LA Times article looks at Kate Winslet’s performance as a masterpiece of both acting and reclaiming the working class hero vision of Mildred Pierce lost in the Hollywood, larger than life rags to riches story centered around Joan Crawford—which in many ways was her own story. I am intrigued by this argument, and will revisit the miniseries yet again 😉

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